It’s been nearly a year and a half since Josh Barnett entered the cone of silence. Despite slipping out of the limelight, the former King of Pancrase insists that he’s not done fighting just yet. He’s simply gone on an extended vacation.
Barnett last set foot in the Octagon in the UFC Fight Night 93 headliner in Hamburg, Germany. He submitted former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski via a rear-naked choke.
While many fighters would be looking for a quick return to try and build some momentum after the spotty run that Barnett had leading up to the fight with Arlovski, especially considering he was 38 years old at the time (he’s 40 now), that wasn’t in the plan.
Aside from being a 20-plus-year veteran of mixed martial arts and having fought across the globe, Barnett is also a trainer, professional wrestler, and wrestling commentator. In short, he’s kept himself very busy for the past 20 years and just needed a break.
“I hadn’t had an actual vacation that didn’t have to do with business for about 20 years, so when I knew we were going to be fighting in Germany, I said I would be taking a real vacation for once, and I spent near a month traveling Europe after that fight,” Barnett told MMAWeekly.com’s Mick Hammond.
“I told my manager I’m not doing any training camps. I’m not fighting anytime soon. I don’t know when I’m going to get back in the ring. I needed some time off.”
Though he has no immediate plans to step back into the cage, Barnett hasn’t ruled out a return. He just doesn’t know exactly when it will be.
“I’m not finished with it. I still have a lot within MMA that I want to do. There’s still a desire in me to go out and fight. I know that it is going to be a much smaller window for me in that there’s so many other things in my life. At the moment, I know the desire is there to compete, but the desire to structure my life around training camps and all that at the moment just isn’t there,” Barnett said.
“I’ll get out there and spar and work with people, so it’s not as if I don’t train or still enjoy training – because I do very much – but to make that commitment in every way that’s necessary to compete in MMA, not yet. But it is still open.”